Ousted Smith & Wesson CEO Ed Shultz reflects decades after deal with President Bill Clinton drove him from business

Ousted Smith & Wesson CEO Ed Shultz reflects decades after deal with President Bill Clinton drove him from business

Ed Shultz, then CEO of Springfield-based gunmaker Smith & Wesson, shows off a working prototype of an authorized-user-only 40-cal. semi-automatic handgun in 2000. (Steve Miller / Associated Press file photo) SPRINGFIELD — Ask Ed Shultz why people buy guns, and why they shoot them, and he’s got a remarkably succinct answer. “Immediate satisfaction,” he says. “You can see that you hit the target. It’s not like golf, where you make a great shot but you have to wait until the end of the round and then you add up your score to see how you did. It’s like mowing the lawn. You get that sense of satisfaction because you can look back and see that you did something.” Shultz’s worldview, an engineer’s drive to see a problem and implement a solution, might have been his undoing as CEO of Springfield’s Smith & Wesson. More than two decades ago, gunmakers faced government lawsuits and pressure from advocacy groups like Handgun Control Inc. Shultz hammered out an agreement with President Bill Clinton’s administration: Drop the suits and Smith & Wesson would include locks on its handguns; implement “smart gun” technology; create a system of authorized dealers nationwide to do background checks; and end “straw” purchases, where someone can fraudulently buy a gun on behalf of people barred from owning guns. “I don’t regret it,” Shultz said in an interview earlier this year. “At one point, both sides were genuinely trying to come to some agreement.” The “smart gun” idea involved developing […]

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